North Wales bus drivers have set to begin a five-week series of strikes after the company disagreed with unions about raising “poverty wages for the poor.”
They set strike action to begin this weekend. It will last steadily until mid-December, for which Unite the Union blames Arriva Cymru for failing to improve its pay offer for the workers.
There have been crunch talks between Unite and Arriva Cymru over the past few days, but they have failed to satisfy union members.
Unite said: “Despite talks taking place over recent days Arriva’s intransigence has left workers with no choice but to commence their planned strike action this Sunday.”
According to reports, Arriva Cymru drivers were offered a 0.29p-per-hour wage enhancement, but Arriva drivers in North-Western England were offered a 0.39p boost.
Besides this, the current pay differential between Welsh and North West Arriva drivers is £1.81 an hour.
There will be widespread disruption of bus services across North Wales, with about 400 Unite members working at depots, including Hawarden (Chester), Wrexham Llandudno, Rhyl, Bangor, and Anglesey, to strike continuously from Sunday (Nov 14) to Dec 19.
The strike follows a ballot of Arriva drivers where 95 percent voted in favor of the industrial action.
Sharon Graham, United Unite’s general secretary, stated: “Arriva Cymru has decided not to pay their loyal Welsh workforce the wages they are entitled to.
So North Wales will suffer severe disruption as a result of the failure to address poverty pay. Also, Unite members are organized, and they will receive the full support of the union in the coming weeks.”
Regional officer for Unite, Jo Goodchild, continued: “Arriva Cymru has wholly underestimated the anger among its workers. Also, Welsh workers will not accept inferior terms and conditions.
There was an opportunity for the company to see sense and offer Welsh workers a pay package compared to its operations in the rest of the UK to begin eliminating poverty wages.
Further to on-going talks this week with our Trade Union partners, on this Sunday, Arriva Buses Wales added: “Other than on-going discussions with our Trade Union partners, Unite, we are putting an improved offer that is highly competitive, which will go to a fresh ballot on Thursday and Friday. “This latest offer will help us reach a complete resolution, but for patrons planning to travel this weekend, we recommend they must check updates before traveling.”